The Scottish parliament passed a controversial bill on Thursday that would lower the age of recognition for transgender people from 18 to 16 and scrap the requirement for a medical certificate.
The new bill will allow anyone aged 18 or over to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate without a medical certificate if they have lived in their declared gender for three months, and for those aged 16-18 for six months.
Previously, applicants had to identify their stated gender for at least two years.
The bill also gives applicants a three-month “reflection period” during which they can reconsider their decision.
The draft law was adopted with 86 votes and 39 votes against. Scotland is the first UK region to approve such a bill, which already exists in countries such as Denmark, Argentina and Ireland.
Spain too passed a bill granting similar rights on the same day.
The Scottish Government has yet to set a date for the bill to come into effect in 2023. But before that, it could be scrapped by London, where the Conservative Party, which governs the UK as a whole, has expressed reservations about the text.
Why is the bill controversial?
Britain’s Conservative Party said on Thursday it shared people’s “concerns about certain aspects of the bill” and vowed to scrutinize it closely. The party is concerned that the bill could endanger the safety of women and children.
The Scottish minister of the British government, Alistair Jack, was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying that the government could, if necessary, order the suspension of sending the bill to Royal Assent.
Closer to home in Scotland, some women’s rights campaigners and Conservative lawmakers argue the bill allows male predators to enter female-only spaces.
“Most of us in Scotland are good, decent, reasonable people, but not rapists, not sex offenders,” French news agency AFP quoted Conservative MP Rachael Hamilton as saying. “To believe that they won’t use vulnerabilities ripe for exploitation is ignorant in the extreme.”
Another staunch opponent of the bill is Harry Potter author JK Rowling, whose controversial 2020 essay on gender identity sparked transphobic accusations and social media attacks.
How did the Scottish Government defend the Bill?
The controversial bill has cost Scotland’s First Minister Nicholas dearly Sturgeon show considerable resistance🇧🇷 She described her previous experience of being transgender as “intrusive, traumatic and dehumanizing”.
“I am a feminist. I will argue for women’s rights. As long as I live, I will do everything in my power to protect women’s rights,” AFP quoted her as saying during a lengthy debate on the law.
“But I also believe that it is an important part of my responsibility to make the lives of stigmatized minorities in our country a little easier, to make their lives a little better, and to remove some of the trauma they experience on a daily basis. main.”
Shona Robison, Scotland’s social justice minister, also defended the law, saying other countries that have passed similar laws have seen a “remarkable” reduction in violence against transgender people.
“I think we can all hope that trans people in Scotland will also benefit from these positive outcomes because the bill removes barriers to their enjoyment of their human rights,” Robison was quoted as saying before the vote.
rmt/jcg (AFP, Reuters)
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